Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. –Hebrews 12:1-2
I fake-smiled at my friend and her boyfriend and wondered if I would ever find the love of my life like she found hers.
My stomach tensed up as my friend texted our group chat about his perfect grade and I winced inside because my grade wasn’t as good as his.
I stayed awake when I should have been asleep and mentally catalogued my friends and experiences because I was worried that I didn’t have as many cool friends or amazing experiences as all my Facebook friends did.
Have you had any of these compare-y moments, or any like them? They’re the absolute WORST! They take my focus off of Christ and the life he has called me to live and plop my focus right square on myself (never a good thing).
Comparing has always been a struggle in my life, but the passage above has been a game changer.
Sooo would you join me as I dive into the beginning of Hebrews 12 and learn about running races?
We are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses. Feeling alone is the worst kind of feeling. But we n e v e r have to feel that again, because in Christ we are not only in the presence of the King of kings at all times, but we are also surrounded by his witnesses! How encouraging is that?!
Throw off the things that hinder and the sin that entangles. What things slow me down and stop me from following Jesus wholeheartedly? I need to not only let them go, but throw them off! This world can throw a lot of entangling junk our way, so let’s strive to be intelligently minded about what we allow in our souls and minds.
Run with perseverance the race God marked out for us, fixing our eyes on our pioneer and perfecter, Jesus. This section is so freeing. Don’t miss how it says the race God marked out for us. We are not required to run the race God marked out for our neighbor, sibling, or best friend. We are simply commanded to follow God where he leads us. Also let us take courage in that God is so actively involved in our lives. He not only marks out a race for us, but he also provides us with a Leader in his Son, Jesus. Jesus goes before us (pioneering the way) and goes alongside us (perfecting our race). How incredible!
Jesus endured the cross and scorned its shame because of the joy set before him. We often hear that Jesus died to save us. That’s true, but is our salvation the primary reason for Christ’s sacrifice? I believe that first and foremost, Jesus died to obey the Father. His sacrificial obedience resulted in mankind’s salvation. This result was something that he took great joy in, but I think we can belittle his sacrifice and become narcissistic when we think that this is all about us. It’s all about Christ and his obedience to God. We are insanely blessed because the God of the universe chose to save us and the Son chose to obey his Father, whatever the cost. When we realize that the Gospel is not dependent on us but on God, we cultivate a healthier perspective.
Jesus sat down at the right hand of God’s throne. Jesus is now in heaven with God! Let’s take great joy in this. We serve a risen and resurrected King who is in heaven waiting for us to join him. Let’s always remember this hope and joy!
So next time you’re feeling that urge to compare, take a deep breath (or two, or five). Remember that God has called you to run your race, not the race of the person sitting next to you. Enjoy the fact that Jesus was willing to obey the Father’s instruction so that you could join him forever in heaven. Throw off the stuff that stops you from enjoying his call on your life, and revel in the constant community of God’s kingdom.
So lace those shoes up tight; we’ve got a race to run!